Figure 1 shows that rates of rape and attempted rape have dropped overall since 1973 and have remained level since 1996. In 1973, the National Crime Victimization Survey reported a rate of 2.5 rapes per 1,000 population age 12 and over. By 1996 this rate had dropped to 0.9. As shown in Table 1, the rate of female rape victims (1999) was over seven times higher than that of men, and that for blacks was 63 per cent higher than that of white victims. A strong majority (69%) of all rapes were committed by people known to the victims (Table 2). For women, 72 per cent of all rapes in 1999 were committed by non-strangers.
The figures on rape presented in the accompanying tables and figure come from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Since 1972 this annual survey has accumulated data on victimization experienced by household members age 12 or older in a sample of approximately 80,000 households from across the country. For the purposes of this survey and the data shown here, rape is defined as forced sexual intercourse, with either psychological or physical coercion. Forced sexual intercourse means penetration by the offender. The figures include completed and attempted rapes (including verbal threats of rape), male and female victims, and both heterosexual and homosexual rape.